Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will address a trade forum hosted by China’s propaganda agencies and state media with the aim of promoting “regional exchange and cooperation” surrounding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Current Australian ministers appear despite China’s ongoing economic coercion campaign against Australia since 2020, which has frozen diplomatic contact with Chinese ministers. did.
Rudd delivered his message In the video According to the state media China Daily, free trade played an important role in China’s economic development, but political factors are making “protectionism” more prominent.
“It is hoped that China will continue to adhere to free trade, reform and openness, and multilateralism, benefiting the development of China, the region and the world,” he said.
The RCEP Media and Think Tank Forum was attended by 300 people from the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, including the press, think tanks, embassy staff and business representatives.
The conference devoted itself to encouraging free trade around Hainan, the southernmost province of China. It was organized by the China Daily, the Public Relations Department of the Hainan Provincial Party Committee, and the China (Hainan) Institute for Reform and Development.
Jiang Jianguo, a heavyweight of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and former deputy director of the Ministry of Promotion, formerly known as the Department of Promotion, spoke at a meeting calling for deeper cooperation between neighboring countries in the region.
Launched in November last year, RCEP is the world’s largest trade agreement covering 15 countries, the world’s population and 30% of GDP. Australia has joined the RCEP with the aim of further opening up the Southeast Asian market.
The RCEP does not completely open up free trade across the region, but establishes a baseline of norms and rules regarding customs control and access to specific markets.
In addition, the agreement provides countries with a dispute resolution mechanism for other countries, a service that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has not been able to provide since 2019.
The WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism, the Appeal Body, has been in dispute since the former US administration refused to appoint new members due to issues such as over-judiciary, slow decision-making, and consistent rulings on US tariffs. Has not been resolved. Protect American companies. The European Union has just recently Recognized These problems too.
Rudd’s appearance took place despite the inability of the Australian Trade Minister to contact or meet with the Chinese Trade Minister.
Last year, the Chinese government launched a one-year economic coercion campaign against Australia targeting numerous exports to China, including coal, beef, wine, barley, lobster, timber, mutton and cotton industries. This action was in response to calls for an independent investigation into the source of COVID-19.
Australia has begun action at the WTO to eliminate tariffs of approximately 80% on barley exports in response to allegations of “dumping” against Australian companies.
Beijing reluctantly participated in the RCEP, according to Yang Wei, a Chinese affairs commentator at The Epoch Times. He said the RCEP is unlikely to open up new opportunities in China.
“The political situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea is tense. Signing the RCEP may be a temporary break for senior CCP leaders, but it actually solves domestic and international regime problems. You can’t do that, “he wrote in an editorial.